A Travel Price Comparison for United States of America Panama City vs. Virginia Beach for Families, Nightlife, Beaches, and Couples

Should you visit Panama City or Virginia Beach?

Which is cheaper to visit? Which is more expensive for vacation?

If you're trying to decide where to visit between Panama City or Virginia Beach, this travel comparison, which includes costs, can help. The overall cost of travel is usually a consideration when deciding where to go next, and the cost comparison down below can help you decide based on the average prices from other travelers along with your own travel budget.

Panama City

Panama City is a active, cosmopolitan, and fun-filled beach town. It's a beautiful place to visit, too. Visitors also love the shopping, nightlife, and live music.

Virginia Beach

Virginia Beach is a bustling, fun-filled, and relaxing coastal city. It's a beautiful place to visit, too. And you can't forget about the nightlife and beaches.

Panama City and Virginia Beach: Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Active nightlife
  • Good music scene
  • Popular beach
  • Fun shopping
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
Pros
  • Active nightlife
  • Popular beach
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance


Is there more to do in Panama City or Virginia Beach?

Visitors will usually find more to do in Panama City than Virginia Beach, as it offers more sights, attractions, and activities. Panama City is more touristy than Virginia Beach and is popular for its watersports, sandy beaches, and year-round beach weather. Also, Panama City is famous for Pier Park. Virginia Beach is well known for its fun boardwalk, many seafood restaurants, and classic beach town vibe.

How is Panama City different from Virginia Beach?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

Let's take a look at the differences and similarities between Virginia Beach and Panama City. Then, you can decide for yourself which place is better for your next trip.

Is the Food Better in Panama City or Virginia Beach? Which Destination has the Best Restaurants?

Panama City
Virginia Beach

Panama City is a nice place to visit for its local flavors and cuisine. However, Virginia Beach is not a good destination for its local cuisine and restaurants.

Panama City has a delicious restaurant scene that relies on local flavors. There are many waterfront restaurants that serve freshly caught seafood. Head to town for a charming atmosphere or grab a bite at a casual eatery. Fried seafood is popular when eating out but you'll also find plenty of options for land-lovers. Most restaurants also have kid-friendly menus.

Virginia Beach may not make the list for most foodies, but you'll find what you need while you're in town. Seafood is plentiful around town and there are all-you-can-eat buffets as well as high end, waterfront seafood restaurants. Make sure you try the She Crab Soup, soft shell crabs, and oysters.


Is Panama City or Virginia Beach Better for Nightlife?

Panama City
Virginia Beach

Panama City is great for nightlife and partying. Also, Virginia Beach is not as popular, but is still a nice coastal city for its evening party scene.

Many people head to Panama City for the nightlife scene. The nightlife is particular crazy during spring break, when the town fills with students. Head to the famous Club La Vela or Spinnaker for music and fun at night.

There's a variety of activities in the evening in Virginia Beach. While it's a family-friendly beach, there's still a great nightlife scene with many bars and clubs in the area. Popular places to hang out at night include Omega Bar, Peabody's Nightclub, and Sky Bar.

Is Panama City or Virginia Beach Better for Music?

Panama City
Virginia Beach

Panama City is a nice place to visit for its live music scene. However, Virginia Beach is not a live music destination.

The music scene helps keep Panama City active and fun. A popular way to enjoy music in the area is to find a restaurant with a lounge where local musicians perform.

Virginia Beach is not a live music destination.

Is Panama City or Virginia Beach Better for Resorts?

Panama City
Virginia Beach

With a similar set of options, notable resorts can be found in both Panama City and Virginia Beach.

With a selection of resorts, Panama City makes a nice vacation spot. Most people stay in condos that are VRBO's or Airbnbs, but there are resorts in the area as well.

Virginia Beach has a few great resort options. Some of the best resorts in the area include the Historic Cavalier Hotel and Beach Club, the Hilton Virginia Beach Oceanfront, and The Founders Inn and Spa.


Is Panama City or Virginia Beach Better for Beaches?

Panama City
Virginia Beach

Panama City is great for the beache. Also, Virginia Beach is not as popular, but is still a nice coastal city for the beach.

You'll have a great beach vacation in Panama City. With miles of long white sandy beaches and crystal blue waters, this area's beaches offer a beautiful escape. Head to the area's state parks for the most natural experience. These include St. Andrews State Park and Camp Helen State Park. A day trip to Shell Island is also popular.

Plenty of visitors enjoy relaxing on the beach in Virginia Beach. The beaches are long and sandy, but they can get crowded during the summer months. The waves are just the right size for playing in the surf and the water temperature is usually warm enough to swim well into the fall months.

Is the Shopping Better in Panama City or Virginia Beach?

Panama City
Virginia Beach

Panama City is a nice place to visit for its shopping opportunities. However, Virginia Beach is not a noteworthy shopping destination.

Shopping is a popular activity when visiting Panama City. There are a number of malls and shopping centers in the area.

Virginia Beach is not a noteworthy shopping destination.

Is Panama City or Virginia Beach Better for Families?

Panama City
Virginia Beach

Panama City is terrific for its kid-friendly activities. Also, Virginia Beach is not as popular, but is still a nice coastal city for its family-friendly activities.

Panama City is an amazing family-friendly beach town to visit. This area has large sandy beaches, waterparks, amusement parks, and marine parks. Kids will enjoy playing around at WonderWorks, cooling off at Shipwreck Island Waterpark, and learning about marine life at Gulf World Marine Park. There are also many watersports and water activities that are fun for the whole family.

Virginia Beach is known to be a very family-friendly place to visit. This is a popular family-friendly beach with a nice boardwalk, a fun waterpark, aquarium, and nice beaches. It attracts families in the area for its long beaches and fun atmosphere. Most restaurants have kid's menus and there are ice cream shops and minigolf around.


Is Panama City or Virginia Beach Better for Couples?

Panama City
Virginia Beach

Panama City is great for its romantic activities. Also, Virginia Beach is not as popular, but is still a nice coastal city for couples.

Panama City is a great beach town if you're traveling as a couple. The beautiful beaches and romantic restaurants make for a great romantic getaway. This is the perfect place to take sunset walks along the beach and sample freshly caught local seafood.

Virginia Beach is a good beach town for couples to visit. Couples will enjoy a nice escape to the beaches and boardwalk. There are many great seafood restaurants, some with waterfront settings. There's also a variety of activities ranging from many golf to dance clubs.

Is Panama City or Virginia Beach Better for Students?

Panama City
Virginia Beach

Panama City is great for its student-friendly activities. Also, Virginia Beach is not as popular, but is still a nice coastal city for students.

Panama City is a great beach town to visit as a student. It's not the spring break destination that it once was, but you'll still find students hanging out around the spring holidays.

Virginia Beach is a good beach town to visit for students. It's not as popular as more southern beach towns, but you'll still find students heading here for the spring break holidays.

Is Panama City or Virginia Beach Better for Public Transit? Which Is Easier to Get Around Without a Car?

Panama City
Virginia Beach

Panama City is adequate for times when you don't have a car. However, Virginia Beach is not a good destination for its public transit.

Public transit is mostly limited in Panama City. Most people need a car in Panama City but there is a trolley service that connects major tourist areas.

Public transit is limited or non-existant in Virginia Beach. There is very limited public transit in the area so you'll need to have a car to get around.


Is Panama City or Virginia Beach a more walkable city?

Panama City
Virginia Beach

Virginia Beach is a coastal city with a few options for its high level of walkability. However, Panama City is a beach town with minimal options for its ease of walking around.

Virginia Beach is generally not very walkable. Most people prefer to have a car but do note that parking can be a nightmare, particularly during the summer season.

Panama City is not a very walkable beach town. There's often construction and the streets aren't designed for pedestrians.

For even more information, also check out Is Panama City Worth Visiting? and Is Virginia Beach Worth Visiting?.

Should I spend more time in Virginia Beach or Panama City?

How long in Panama City or Virginia Beach?

Both Panama City and Virginia Beach have a number of activities to choose from. In our opinion, Panama City has more to see and do, so we recommend that you spend more time in Panama City than Virginia Beach. In general, 3-7 days is a good amount of time for Panama City, and 5-7 days is enough time in Virginia Beach.

Families should spend more time in Panama City than Virginia Beach. Because of the many family-friendly attractions and fun things to do for kids in Panama City, it's a great place to visit with the whole family.

Couples should spend more time in Panama City than Virginia Beach. You'll find plenty of romantic sights and fun activities in Panama City that are great for a weekend getaway or a longer couple's trip.

Backpackers and budget travelers should spend more time in Panama City than Virginia Beach if your budget allows for it. With a larger number of budget-friendly sights, good nightlife, and active things to do, anyone traveling on a budget would have a good time in Panama City.


  • How many days in Panama City or Virginia Beach? Ideal Length of Stay
    Panama City 3-7 
    Virginia Beach 5-7

One day in Panama City or Virginia Beach?

In Panama City, you'll find shopping and nightlife. Most people come for the beaches. But since there are so many activities, you'll likely want to spend more than one day exploring.

Visitors enjoy the nightlife when visiting the relaxing coastal city of Virginia Beach. One day is usually not enough time for a trip here as there is plenty to do. The entire region has so many activities, and you'll want time to do everything.

A weekend in Panama City or Virginia Beach?

Panama City is a great place to explore. Many visitors spend time at the beach while visiting the area. Anyone can find something fun to do here. With so much to do, a weekend is probably not enough time to see everything.

Visitors enjoy the nightlife when visiting the relaxing destination of Virginia Beach. This coastal city offers something for everyone. Since there is so much to do in the area, a weekend is probably not enough for all of it.


Five days in Panama City or Virginia Beach?

It's hard to know how much time to spend in Panama City. People usually spend lots of time at the beach. For many, it makes a great getaway for five days. It offers something for everyone. Because of this, five days is usually enough time for a trip here.

Visitors enjoy the nightlife when visiting the relaxing coastal city of Virginia Beach. Many people spend five days here.If you enjoy all that's offered here, then five days is just the right amount of time to spend here. The length of your trip often depends on your style of travel.

A week in Panama City or Virginia Beach?

In Panama City, you'll find food and shopping. It's also a great beach destination, too. Your budget might influence how long you stay. If you have one week, this is a great place to go. One week is usually enough time to experience most activities.

Visitors enjoy the nightlife when visiting the destination of Virginia Beach. Anyone can find something fun to do here. This is a popular place to visit for one week. In one week, you should have a good grasp of this coastal city.


For some great organized tour ideas, see The Best Bicycle Tours in United States of America, Tours for Outdoor and Nature Lovers in United States of America, The Best Coach Bus Tours in United States of America, and The Best Adventure Tours to United States of America.


Which place is cheaper, Virginia Beach or Panama City?

These are the overall average travel costs for the two destinations.

The average daily cost (per person) in Panama City is $224, while the average daily cost in Virginia Beach is $126. These costs include accommodation (assuming double occupancy, so the traveler is sharing the room), food, transportation, and entertainment. While every person is different, these costs are an average of past travelers in each destination. What follows is a categorical breakdown of travel costs for Panama City and Virginia Beach in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Panama City $128
    Virginia Beach $71
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Panama City $256
    Virginia Beach $142
Compare Hotels in Panama City and Virginia Beach

Looking for a hotel in Panama City or Virginia Beach? Prices vary by location, date, season, and the level of luxury. See below for options and compare which is best for your budget and travel style.

Hotels in Panama City


Hotels in Virginia Beach


Kayak helps you find the best prices for hotels, flights, and rental cars for destinations around the world. Compare prices for multiple destinations when planning your next trip.


Our Analysis
We've analyzed the average and typical hotel prices based on guest reviews, star ratings, and hotel amenities here: Panama City Hotel Prices and Virginia Beach Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Panama City $48
    Virginia Beach $39

Typical Local Transportation Prices in Virginia Beach

Below are a few samples from actual travelers for transportation costs in Virginia Beach:


  • Beach Parking
    $10

Is it cheaper to fly into Panama City or Virginia Beach?

Prices for flights to both Virginia Beach and Panama City change regularly based on dates and travel demand. We suggest you find the best prices for your next trip on Kayak, because you can compare the cost of flights across multiple airlines for your prefered dates.





Food
  • Food Meals for one day
    Panama City $66
    Virginia Beach $30

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Panama City $19
    Virginia Beach $21

Tours and Activities in Panama City

Here are a few actual costs in Panama City for available activities, ticket prices, and tours:

  • 2 Hour Dolphin Sightseeing Tour with Capt. Zach's Adventures: $73
  • 2 Hour Dolphin and Sightseeing Tour in Panama City Beach, Fl: $72
  • 2 Hour Private Dolphin and Sightseeing Tour in Shell Island: $65
  • 3 Hour Cruise, Snorkel, Swim/float Sandbar - tandem tiki option: $80
  • Beach Sunset and Lagoon Skyline Tour: $75
  • Beginner Scuba Diving Tour PCB Free Videos: $129
  • Beginner Scuba Diving Tour with Videos-PCB: $129
  • Catamaran Snorkel and Dolphin Watch Tour in Panama City Beach: $60
  • Cypress Springs Eco Adventure: $110
  • Discover Snorkeling Tour in Panama City: $65
  • Dolphin Sightseeing Tour on The Footloose Catamaran from Panama City Beach: $35
  • Famous Private Center Console Boat Tours of Panama City Beach: $295

Tours and Activities in Virginia Beach

Also, here are some specific examples of entertainment, tickets, and activities for Virginia Beach.

  • Unique Scavenger Hunt Experience in Virginia Beach by Wacky Walks: $10
  • Neptune Ghosts: Ghosts of the Coast By US Ghost Adventures: $24
  • Neptune Ghosts Haunted Walking Tour: $26
  • Sunset Stand-Up Paddleboarding Tour: $45
  • Morning Stand-Up Paddleboarding Tour: $45
  • Ziplining and Climbing at The Adventure Park at Virginia Aquarium: $59
  • Dolphin Stand-Up Paddleboard Tour: $60
  • Wetland Zip Tour: $65
  • Sunset Dolphin Kayak Tours: $68
  • Small Group Dolphin Kayak Eco-Tour: $68
  • Kayak Dolphin Tours | Must Know How to Swim: $78
  • Dolphin Kayak Tour in Virginia Beach Must know how to swim: $87

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Panama City $56
    Virginia Beach $11


When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between Panama City and Virginia Beach, we can see that Panama City is more expensive. And not only is Virginia Beach much less expensive, but it is actually a significantly cheaper destination. So, traveling to Virginia Beach would let you spend less money overall. Or, you could decide to spend more money in Virginia Beach and be able to afford a more luxurious travel style by staying in nicer hotels, eating at more expensive restaurants, taking tours, and experiencing more activities. The same level of travel in Panama City would naturally cost you much more money, so you would probably want to keep your budget a little tighter in Panama City than you might in Virginia Beach.

If you're trying to decide if either of these two destinations are within your price range, also see Is Panama City Expensive? and Is Virginia Beach Expensive?.


Which is Bigger, Panama City or Virginia Beach?

Virginia Beach has a larger population, and is about 10 times larger than the population of Panama City. When comparing the sizes of Panama City and Virginia Beach, keep in mind that a larger population does not always imply the destination has more attractions or better activities. So, always research the type of place that you want to visit along with the activities and attractions that interest you.


When is the best time to visit Panama City or Virginia Beach?

Both places have a temperate climate with four distinct seasons. As both cities are in the northern hemisphere, summer is in July and winter is in January.

Should I visit Panama City or Virginia Beach in the Summer?

Both Virginia Beach and Panama City during the summer are popular places to visit. The summer months attract visitors to Panama City because of the beaches, the music scene, and the family-friendly experiences. Furthermore, the beaches and the family-friendly experiences are the main draw to Virginia Beach this time of year.

Panama City is around the same temperature as Virginia Beach in the summer. The daily temperature in Panama City averages around 82°F (28°C) in July, and Virginia Beach fluctuates around 79°F (26°C).

In Virginia Beach, it's very sunny this time of the year. It's quite sunny in Panama City. In the summer, Panama City often gets around the same amount of sunshine as Virginia Beach. Panama City gets 283 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while Virginia Beach receives 279 hours of full sun.

Virginia Beach gets a good bit of rain this time of year. It rains a lot this time of the year in Panama City. Panama City usually gets more rain in July than Virginia Beach. Panama City gets 7.3 inches (184 mm) of rain, while Virginia Beach receives 5.7 inches (145 mm) of rain this time of the year.


  • Summer Average Temperatures July
    Panama City 82°F (28°C) 
    Virginia Beach 79°F (26°C)

Should I visit Panama City or Virginia Beach in the Autumn?

The autumn attracts plenty of travelers to both Panama City and Virginia Beach. The shopping scene, the music scene, and the natural beauty of the area are the main draw to Panama City this time of year. Furthermore, many travelers come to Virginia Beach for the natural beauty of the area.

In the autumn, Panama City is a little warmer than Virginia Beach. Typically, the autumn temperatures in Panama City in October average around 71°F (22°C), and Virginia Beach averages at about 62°F (16°C).

People are often attracted to the plentiful sunshine in Virginia Beach this time of the year. In Panama City, it's very sunny this time of the year. Panama City usually receives more sunshine than Virginia Beach during autumn. Panama City gets 256 hours of sunny skies, while Virginia Beach receives 211 hours of full sun in the autumn.

In October, Panama City usually receives more rain than Virginia Beach. Panama City gets 3.4 inches (86 mm) of rain, while Virginia Beach receives 3.1 inches (78 mm) of rain each month for the autumn.


  • Autumn Average Temperatures October
    Panama City 71°F (22°C) 
    Virginia Beach 62°F (16°C)

Should I visit Panama City or Virginia Beach in the Winter?

The winter brings many poeple to Panama City as well as Virginia Beach. Many travelers come to Panama City for the shopping scene and the cuisine. Additionally, many visitors come to Virginia Beach in the winter for the cuisine.

Virginia Beach can get quite cold in the winter. In January, Panama City is generally much warmer than Virginia Beach. Daily temperatures in Panama City average around 52°F (11°C), and Virginia Beach fluctuates around 39°F (4°C).

In the winter, Panama City often gets more sunshine than Virginia Beach. Panama City gets 185 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while Virginia Beach receives 168 hours of full sun.

Panama City usually gets more rain in January than Virginia Beach. Panama City gets 3.9 inches (99 mm) of rain, while Virginia Beach receives 3.3 inches (85 mm) of rain this time of the year.


  • Winter Average Temperatures January
    Panama City 52°F (11°C) 
    Virginia Beach 39°F (4°C)

Should I visit Panama City or Virginia Beach in the Spring?

Both Virginia Beach and Panama City are popular destinations to visit in the spring with plenty of activities. Many visitors come to Panama City in the spring for the beaches and the natural beauty. Also, most visitors come to Virginia Beach for the beaches and the natural beauty during these months.

Panama City is a little warmer than Virginia Beach in the spring. The daily temperature in Panama City averages around 68°F (20°C) in April, and Virginia Beach fluctuates around 58°F (14°C).

It's quite sunny in Virginia Beach. The sun comes out a lot this time of the year in Panama City. Panama City usually receives more sunshine than Virginia Beach during spring. Panama City gets 295 hours of sunny skies, while Virginia Beach receives 253 hours of full sun in the spring.

In April, Panama City usually receives around the same amount of rain as Virginia Beach. Panama City gets 2.7 inches (69 mm) of rain, while Virginia Beach receives 2.7 inches (69 mm) of rain each month for the spring.


  • Spring Average Temperatures April
    Panama City 68°F (20°C) 
    Virginia Beach 58°F (14°C)

Typical Weather for Virginia Beach and Panama City

Panama City Virginia Beach
Temp (°C) Rain (mm) Temp (°C) Rain (mm)
Jan 52°F (11°C) 3.9 inches (99 mm) 39°F (4°C) 3.3 inches (85 mm)
Feb 55°F (13°C) 3.8 inches (96 mm) 41°F (5°C) 3.3 inches (84 mm)
Mar 61°F (16°C) 4.3 inches (108 mm) 49°F (10°C) 3.4 inches (87 mm)
Apr 68°F (20°C) 2.7 inches (69 mm) 58°F (14°C) 2.7 inches (69 mm)
May 74°F (24°C) 2.7 inches (68 mm) 67°F (19°C) 3.3 inches (85 mm)
Jun 80°F (27°C) 4.6 inches (116 mm) 74°F (24°C) 3.6 inches (92 mm)
Jul 82°F (28°C) 7.3 inches (184 mm) 79°F (26°C) 5.7 inches (145 mm)
Aug 82°F (28°C) 7.5 inches (191 mm) 78°F (25°C) 5.9 inches (150 mm)
Sep 79°F (26°C) 7.5 inches (192 mm) 72°F (22°C) 4.2 inches (107 mm)
Oct 71°F (22°C) 3.4 inches (86 mm) 62°F (16°C) 3.1 inches (78 mm)
Nov 63°F (17°C) 3.2 inches (81 mm) 53°F (12°C) 3 inches (75 mm)
Dec 56°F (13°C) 4.1 inches (104 mm) 44°F (7°C) 3.1 inches (79 mm)